This was originally posted by the Marion & Polk Early Learning Hub here.

I’m going to be honest with you here…I was ready to go home. We had just finished up a big grocery trip and a family dinner out after our long holiday weekend with family and I was just ready to head home and relax. We saw him sitting there with a sign “Anything helps”. It was dark and cold out. Who knows how long he had been sitting there. I spotted him on our way to dinner and thought, ooh, maybe I should get him a sandwich or something to give as we leave. I forgot. I’ve often tried to have packaged food and goodies that I can give to people I see on the street that appear to be homeless. I want to try to offer them some type of support in some way that hopefully helps them feel better, if only for a second. I haven’t been very good at it lately and have too often in my opinion driven by without stopping.

But, my son noticed him on the way out. My son has seen plenty of people who appear to be homeless over the years on the street asking for help. He has seen us offer help from time to time and whenever he sees someone his heart seems to really ache for them. He asked what the man’s sign said, then he asked if we could help. We were already past him and about to head home. We didn’t really have much to offer, but wanted to encourage his caring heart and willingness to help. So we turned around, went through the parking lot again and handed him a few dollars. That’s when we also noticed that his sign said “Need sleeping bag”. We felt like we could do more. My son was feeling called to help him and we wanted to make sure to encourage him to follow his heart.

After a few minutes we were able to find a good sleeping bag that would tolerate temperatures below freezing. We drove back through the parking lot one more time and noticed that he was starting to get up and gather his things. We caught him just before he left and handed him the sleeping bag. He told us how much he appreciated it and that “he was just about to give up”. We were touched and grateful for our boy and his kind heart. All we wanted to do was go home, but our son reminded us how important it was to keep our eyes open and to be ready to help. I hope that someday he can teach me to be as kind and caring as he is. I hope he never loses his helpful and loving heart.

This is fatherhood…